Phi Beta Cons

Most Surprising News of the Week

A survey by USA Today reports that big athletic programs spend more than they earn in revenues.

Total revenue for the 50 public schools in the Power Five conferences rose by $304 million in 2015, but spending rose by $332 million from the year before, according to a USA TODAY Sports analysis of financial information that schools annually report to the NCAA. At the 178 public schools in Division I conferences outside the Power Five, revenue increased by $199 million, but spending rose by $218 million.

(These figures exclude Louisville and Rutgers, which moved into the Power Five in the period studied.)

USA Today suggests that this imbalance could lead to some kind of bursting bubble for athletics programs. But that’s not the NCAA’s view. All is well there.

NCAA president Mark Emmert says the very fact that so few athletics programs are self-sufficient demonstrates their worth in terms of building community and providing opportunity.

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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